Intern Diaries: Foster Our Growth

Posted by Marie Wathen, Employee Benefits Communications Intern on September 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Marie_Wathen_h-1Marie Wathen is a junior at Hillsdale College studying History and Graphic Design. This summer, she worked at Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) as our Employee Benefits Communications Intern. This is part two of Marie Wathens 3-part blog series that provides tips on retaining Millennial employees.

By 2020, nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials, according to U.S. Census data. As Millennials become more prevalent in the workplace, they’ll also need to take on increasing levels of responsibility. This leaves employers wondering- will their millennial employees be ready?

Though Millennials may be young and inexperienced, there’s good news for employers. We want to be transformed into the leaders your organization needs.

Millennials aspire to grow professionally, and look to employers to help. The 2014 Deloitte "Millennial Survey," which polled more than 7,800 Millennials in 26 countries, found that 50% of Millennials believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.

What steps can your company take to help your Millennials grow?[1]

  1. Offer Mentorship: According to Lightspeed Research’s survey of 1,000 employees ranging from 22-29 year olds from American companies of various sizes and industries, 53% of Gen Y’s said that a mentoring relationship would help them become a better and more productive contributor to their company. Mentorship is a tangible way employers can help Millennials grow into more effective contributors to company success. At Barney & Barney, the G.R.O.W. (Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women) program offers mentorship opportunities to all female employees. This program is an excellent way to connect with experienced associates and receive tailored advice for professional growth.
  1. Assign Legitimate Responsibilities: One of the greatest ways you can shape your millennial employees into leaders is by giving them genuine responsibilities with hard deadlines. I have found that the most challenging and rewarding projects are those which are primarily my responsibility. Successfully accomplishing those tasks builds my confidence and encourages me to take on increasing responsibility in the future.
  1. Demonstrate Great Leadership: If you’re the boss, you have the opportunity to help shape your employees into future leaders through example. Throughout my internship, I have learned a great deal about leadership by simply observing the behaviors of strong leaders. They have trusted me with critical tasks, mentored me, and communicated about decisions which pertain to me. Through these actions, they have helped me understand more about management than any lecture ever could.

There’s no perfect formula for how to develop your employees, Millennial or otherwise, into leaders. But I invite you to step back for a moment and consider your own career development. What helped you most as you were beginning your career? What advice would you have given your first manager?

As your millennial employees rise through the ranks to take on increasing levels of responsibility and leadership, you will find that the time and consideration you invested in their professional development was well worth it.

[1] For another excellent consideration on developing Millennial leaders in the workplace, read this issue of the Boston College Executive Briefing Series.


Topics: Inside B&B, GROW, Human Resources

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